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In a Shattered Sky (We're One Star Down)

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Yifan wasn't sure where to find Yixing but he was sure it wasn't amongst the bedsheets the younger was supposed to be wrapped in as he flicked the light on. He could half-guess that he would be curled up in a ball beneath the bed frame itself but the cold air flooding into the bedroom was enough for Yifan to follow to the sliding french doors that sprouted off from the edge of the room. He stepped out and saw Yixing sat there with his legs dangling limply from where he was perched on top of the small metal frame table they had. Yixing appeared to be watching the street below. Yifan knew better from the way that Yixing's eyes were glazed over that little bit too much for him to be aware of his surroundings.

The younger was still in the clothes that Yifan had left him in before he went to work during the afternoon before his night shift, the fabric of his shirt was creased the whole way up the spine and his jeans were part way tucked into his socks. The latter being something Yifan had pointed out when Yixing had been staring idly across the kitchen table during their morning moments together.

"Yixing," he called out and gained no response; Yixing didn't even blink. "Xing-ah."

There was absolutely nothing, not that Yifan expected much anymore. It was four in the morning and the sun had begun to peek over the horizon to cast the inky night sky in a lick of orange along the horizon. Yifan could easily see Yixing's silhouette and glazed eyes in the minimal light but there didn't seem to be any movement other than the frequent rises and falls of his chest.

The elder wished he could help Yixing, to take away some of the things that seemed to haunt him like a ghost in a creaking house but everything he tried was useless. Yixing never meant to make Yifan feel like that, to drag him down but Yixing never failed to make Yifan feel both like a powerless man in a raging storm and the lifeboat that could rock Yixing gently in the sea. Yixing referred to himself as dead weight in Yifan's life, that he was the boulder tied around the older man's leg to pull him down into the depths of the darkness but Yixing, to Yifan, was a burden he was always willing to bear.

There were days that Yixing was feather light and would be the one to shine the light.

There were days where Yixing had Yifan crumbling to his knees and left him in the dark like a ship with nothing to guide him through rocky outcrops.

Yifan's arm stretched out for his hand to gently brush up the back of Yixing's ice cold neck and the other jolted away from the touch in fright before he recognised the skin of the fingertips coasting over his nape. The days where Yixing would lean back into Yifan's touches had long since passed, the younger sat there and acted like Yifan's hand on him was something to be endured and not savoured.

"You should go to bed," Yifan mumbled but Yixing's eyes stayed trained on the light of the horizon.

"The sun is only setting now," Yixing muttered and Yifan closed his eyes whilst biting the soft insides of his cheek. Yixing had been sat there all night. "Let me watch it."

"Xing," Yifan's voice tore a little, "that's the sun rising. Not setting."

"But I wanted to watch the sunset," Yixing's eyes blinked as if doing that would reverse the constant of the sun's daily movements. "How could I miss the sun setting?"

Because you're not yourself, Yifan wanted to cry out, you don't see anything. "It's okay, anybody could miss it. I've not seen one in weeks."

Those words didn't provide Yixing with any comfort as his eyes filled with tears right in front of Yifan, the elder wanted to kiss those little droplets away like he used to but he let them fall freely out of Yixing's eyes instead. He didn't move as a sob escaped Yixing's lips, he observed how the other's lips shook and let the younger curl up into himself on the glass-topped table.

Yifan was watching Yixing give up, he was the only witness to the weight of the world do nothing but crush down on Yixing's ribcage hard enough for a hypothetical cracking sound to resound in Yifan's head.

"Yixing, just come to bed," his own voice quivered at Yixing's raw vulnerability. "Please, come in and we'll make our own sunset."

The younger didn't move but nodded, Yifan finally took his chance to step closer and Yixing's arms instantly wrapped around his neck. While he wasn't the strongest man in the world, emotionally or physically, he could always shoulder whatever Yixing threw at him no matter the strain on himself. He carried Yixing the short way to their bed, set the younger down under the duvet and huddled Yixing up in it. Yifan sat on the floor beside Yixing's head and placed his hand on the dimmer that was in line with the top of their bed.

"Close your eyes," Yifan whispered, he was glad when Yixing did so because the younger rarely had the will to do anything most days. Yifan didn't face Yixing as he slowly faded out the light in the room, Yixing sighed over his shoulder and Yifan couldn't tell if it was in disappointment of Yifan's attempt to make him feel better or the fact Yifan couldn't do anything anymore to make Yixing smile at him like he was Yixing's own personal sunset every in fleeting moment.

"Please, got to sleep," Yifan whispered to his boyfriend in the dark whilst his spine quaked as his noiseless weeping took over. "You'll feel better when you sleep because I won't be a failure then, I can't let you down while you're sleeping."

 

-///-

 

Yifan shook his jacket from his shoulders to dust the icy strands from it as he entered his bedroom with a pleased sigh, he could see Yixing's body under the duvet and stripped off to slip in beside his boyfriend to steal his warmth as the clocked ticked up to almost seven in the morning.

He pressed his numb fingertips into Yixing's unsuspecting stomach and watched as the younger's eyes fluttered open in the sunlight that flowed into the room in silver strands of winter illumination. Breathing was far easier when Yifan could see the way Yixing looked at him whenever he had been awoken by Yifan and he ran his hand across Yixing's cheek as the younger's lips opened up in a smile. Yixing didn't look right through Yifan with crystal-like eyes.

Instead, Yixing sparkled brilliantly and Yifan had long since halted pretending that the watery sheen that had once coated Yixing's eyes was his own radiance. He didn't mind that Yixing's gaze had grown far more intense without the lack of focus there because Yixing could see Yifan like a boat moving to break through the mist.

Yixing didn't speak but he rolled onto his side to face Yifan and the elder could see how the sun rose through the window right in the dip between Yixing's hip and his ribs. The light was warm despite the coldness of the weather outside and it shone right over Yixing. Minutes passed as the sun turned Yixing into a shadowy silhouette on their twin sized mattress, Yifan had learned to see how distinct Yixing's entire form was in those early wintertime hours.

It was as if Yixing was a picture painted by Yifan's own hands, those visions in teenage years of who your soulmate would be and the happiness they would bring you were embodied in Yixing in those minutes that the sun sat prettily on his skin. He didn't know what Yixing saw when he stared at him but Yifan could only relish in the fact that Yixing could see him. Out of everything in the world Yixing chose to let himself really notice, it was Yifan.

That always helped to fill in those tiny cracks Yixing had chipped into his heart over months of despondency and distance between the two of them. Yixing's fingers deliberately crept across the bed sheet to touch warmly over Yifan's stomach and chest before he took his hand away to watch how the shadows of his fingers swirled on Yifan's flesh.

The younger's eyes widened in shock as Yifan's hand grabbed his midair and moved it down to entwine their digits up until his fingers were drowned in the warmth the younger had been drenched in. Yifan yawned as he tugged Yixing towards his chest, the younger moved willingly into Yifan to be enshrouded in long limbs and hot breaths on his skin. He could feel the way Yixing's nose nudged along his neck to take in the way he smelt after their hours of separation.

Yixing no longer hid under the idea of being oppressive to Yifan, they moved with a clarity of having clear bodies and gradually mending hearts. The smaller male often described life as being moulded in greyscale previously, he had talked about how every colour around him had faded or bled into each other but Yifan could hear Yixing's muttering of how Yifan's eyes were the brightest things he'd ever seen.

There was no more waiting, no sunsets to chase until sunrise and there were new plans in their diary. Yifan marked each day of Yixing's steadily reclaimed happiness off in his head and he didn't have to track time whenever Yixing let it slip through his fingers; he let himself savour in the way Yixing's smile trickled into his mind like water every new morning they shared together.

Yifan was so sure he heard Yixing call his name but he was too fixed on how Yixing felt up against him, how Yixing was still there to touch and let him surround himself in.

"Close your eyes," Yixing whispered with a balmy affection against his neck. "Please, go to sleep."

One of Yixing's hands stroked through his hair as he did as he was told, the exhaustion of working all through the night crawled up from under his skin and left him with his lips parted.

Yixing stayed by his side with even inhalation and a calm pulse, a change from an erratic heartbeat and a shuddering mess of frosted sobbing.

Yixing didn't disappear into himself nor did he let his head consume him; he ran and hid in Yifan with the trust that Yifan would stay there to weather the storm until it cleared.

Sleep overcame Yifan easily like it had always done since Yixing's smile flooded rooms around him again; each dimple and set of curved eyes purified Yifan's world.

As fast as sleep came, it slipped away with a reluctant singing in Yifan's mind. He didn't feel the body beside his, he didn't feel the dense glow beneath his arms and he didn't feel smiles upon his skin. The worry in Yifan's heart never left, it ran deeper than ever over the fear of what they used to be and he searched for Yixing the moment his eyes opened. He didn't find him in the bed, nor hear him anywhere else inside the room and didn't stop until he saw the shape of a body through the glass opposite.

Yifan watched Yixing out on the balcony, stood with his arms spread out wide and face directed at the sun to soak it into his skin. Yixing had begun to spin like the earth again but beamed like he was his own sun, he cast the fingers of his light right over Yifan whenever they were together and Yifan was no longer caught in the middle of Yixing's tempest.

Yixing had lost himself and Yifan along the way but Yifan could see how he'd forged himself a new light.